I’ve been taking time to observe my own work and lifestyle habits to improve productivity as an artist and entrepreneur, which led me to notice the pros and cons of my greatest blessing and curse: overthinking. Overanalyzing past events is my comfort zone to an obsessive point. I review my behavior and the behaviors of others in social settings, I’ll reevaluate my work schedule repeatedly (especially when random changes occur), and I can become far too immersed in hypothetical “what if’s” regarding past events believing that even though what I suspect could hypothetically happen didn’t happen at all, I should prepare for the likelihood that it does happen anyway. It’s strange that as a artist, my inspiration and work appear as bursts of energy which is a present consumption, but with almost everything else, I always need a plan and lacking a plan in anyway makes me feel incredibly lost.
The greatest pro of thinking like this is building resilience and maturity. I really value being introspective because it provides many opportunities to learn. However, the greatest con is rarely being in the present moment. This habit combined with intrusive thoughts and dissociation really isn’t fun; it’s time consuming self-torture on bad days. So, this week I practiced mindfulness techniques more frequently as an attempt to rewire my brain in a way. I get hit with intrusive thoughts on a daily basis, so addressing the truthfulness of those thoughts, as in understanding why the thought came up, how it makes me feel, and how practical it is to stew over the thought, is a struggle and conscious effort every damn time.
Redirecting my overthinking for more productive means is also a conscious effort and doing so keeps me in a present state of mind, which is a great pro. In the past, my overthinking would simply lead to spiraling and catastrophizing. Now my critical nature works more in my favor when self-care and dignity are kept in mind.
Just wanted to share this because I know I’m not alone in this. My fellow artists, autodidacts, nerds, and the like will perceive their analytical nature as a burden all too often and to be honest it really can become this powerful and reckless force disguised as meticulousness. Acknowledging how overanalyzing is a comfort zone we need to step out of helps change our self-perception into something more fulfilling without any radical change. If we naturally are critical and creative thinkers, then we can’t help that, but the least we can do is apply our great minds to tasks that help us embrace our potential. I’m just so tired of falling victim to the coulds/shoulds I’ve internalized. Let’s just be.
I came across this article by Joanna Scutts while looking for magazines that accepted poetry. I was pulled in by “Feminize Your Canon” with a “Yes. I love this. Feminize My Canon!” before clicking the link. It started out to be very engaging and soon violent. Then revival and raw power burst through in the unpublished, discredited, and haunting prejudice, both racial and gendered, throughout Alice’s life. What makes this remarkable to me was as I read on I saw myself and I saw the protagonist of the novel series I’ve been working on for years now. The similarities between all three of us brought a vivacity to what seemed almost fated to me, but honestly, the story of Alice Dunbar-Nelson can summon the courage of any light-skinned African American woman lacking a sense of belongingness and fights for it daily. When you fight for belongingness and acceptance, really you’re on the path of self-trust and self-respect; dignity is the name of the game and it’s hard to play, but the arts can be the greatest weapon drawn if it fits firmly in your hands and helps you declare your uniqueness with boldness and honor.
I don’t know how else to describe Alice Dunbar-Nelson, other than what I’ve said, what I’ve been further inspired to do, which is create forever, and to just add that she was a remarkable soul, who knew she deserved better and made sure she got it. To the article writer Joanna Scutts, thank you. To the scholars and writers who revitalized Alice’s life and life’s work, thank you. I value your efforts highly and I’m grateful you didn’t censor the relationships she had with men and women amongst her achievements as a political activist who “in her energy and appetite for life’s pleasures, from the literary to the human to the natural, Alice Dunbar-Nelson celebrated beauty and freedom to the end of her life,” (Scutts 2020). That’s the dream, right there.
The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily or mental and spiritual John Stuart Mill […]
Horror and magical realism are my favorite genres to blend. My first published attempt at doing this is my horror short “Autonomy Bleeds Black” where pain and power manifested into elemental forces. One of my favorite magical realism works is Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I’m a huge fan of Del Toro’s and am grateful that Pan’s Labyrinth was my introduction to him. In interviews, he’s described this film to be very personal as someone who lived under strict and religious conditions, but used fantasy works and other genres to escape. Often our escapes become reflections of our inner world and help us interpret what’s going on within us subconsciously and consciously.
…These genres are mirrors, but for their effectiveness to withstand any resistance to our personal revelations, we writers have to hook the audience in with familiarity and give them the illusion of control.
My first draft rendition of introducing this new group of characters reminded me how sinful it is to write cringy dialogue and that my characters should have purpose or just not exist at all. I don’t mean to be too hard on myself considering it’s the first draft, but I was disappointed to read this scene of diverse characters introducing themselves with a silly/comedic camaraderie and then turning out to be kind of overpowered later. I already know my anime-brain took the lead on this. Now current me has to deal with characters whose purpose is poorly translated. While keeping my focus on making sure the voices of these characters were definitive and believable with their personality, I thought more critically about the development of side characters.
“I’d rather write one good book than ten mediocre ones.” – Donna Tartt
I’m finding that deadlines are bittersweet. They’re motivating, but I strongly feel that anything I create must be made to the best of my ability and I trust in my ability to make high quality work. I’m not striving for perfection as an artist; I’m striving for excellence. I want nothing more than progression and every publication to be a milestone in that progress.
With that being said, I’m eager for the near completion of my short story and the projects to follow. I’m also grateful for the time I’ve had to take care of myself and a very productive week. I hope anyone reading this is staying safe and trusting themselves to strive for excellence too with the time and power they have. Be patient with yourself.
It’s kind of maddening when you flesh out a good structure for a short story and you try to keep it true to its genre by keeping it SHORT and then new ideas pop up that you know will make it LONGER, but you also know that idea would be SO GOOD for the story because it ties into the theme and enhances the continuity and after that, you only HOPE that as you edit the second draft of the story and hope to have the damn thing published SOMEWHERE, all the rehashing will be worth it and no more new ideas interrupt your publishing process!
Time to get back to recording my novel progress. The last post I did about my novel was January 13th, so going back to that, I have finally edited about 110 pages of my first draft and am starting to write through the second. The exposition has been really fun to read through again, but now it’s time to hone in the focus on clear settings, intriguing characters, and establishing solid plots and subplots. Though I am writing the second draft, I am still reviewing some old notes and tracking everything from timelines to character arcs…It’s a glorious nightmare and one day, I’d like to show how I organized it all for publishing.
I’ll stay in touch. Time to write, plot, and write more.
Rage writing is when something angers you so much, you grab the writing method closest to you and start creating a story based on the event that you’re pissed at.
It’s good fun, yes, but I find it most fulfilling when I reread what I’ve created and reflected upon the theme later. The reflection makes the ending and details in between very clear and solidifies the theme.
Rage writing is also a great way to make sure you write more frequently, have a healthy outlet for your emotion, and process that anger. I’m not saying you’ll turn out being a better person than you were before or that you should try to write a happy ending to your rage-written story; but I am saying, at least for myself, that this is a satisfactory method of expression and it’s going to feel damn good to publish it in time.
So after some work and some rest, I’ve been able to progress in character development and the lore of my world. I’m stuck on vampires again, but temporarily. One of my characters is my vampire and an exorcist. I’m basing her spirit work skills on exorcism techniques they used in ancient Japan.
For the record, working on a novel isn’t doing the same thing every day, at least for me. To keep the mind active and the inspiration flowing, I think it’s okay to take different approaches to your work. It’s a great confidence booster too when you create a different way of developing your story and it leads to progress, but even when you don’t make the breakthrough you hoped for, taking in that experience is a progress in itself.
My struggles with anxiety have surprisingly inspired me to fight for a confident attitude towards my work and myself. Shadow work during this time (shadow work is a self-reflection process many pagans/witches do through divination or other means, in case you don’t know) has helped so much. I did start a daily Instagram posting of one of my shadow work methods, but now I’m behind because of some mental health issues on my end. I’m still trucking on though and wanted to say that things are still moving forward.
To end, a little advice from a teabag tassel I got yesterday: The purpose of life is to know yourself, love yourself, trust yourself, and be yourself.
I wrote an article for those interested in reading tarot, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Divination through reading the cards, also known as cartomancy, attracts those who love cryptic symbolism. Don’t think “cryptic” to mean “incredibly difficult to understand” in this case. Tarot cards are metaphorical in nature, but are usually simplistic and direct in design. Divination itself, or communing with the divine (or spirit work, and communication, if you prefer), can be ambiguous when starting out, but I think tarot is a great introduction to identifying personal and universal truths. Tarot is a great psychological tool for introspection. Whatever your reason is for picking up tarot, I hope this introduction will give you a general idea of what to expect while learning to read the cards, and provide suitable references to help you explore tarot further.
…the truth as you see it is what’s going to define the impact of tarot reading for you. What you should expect from reading tarot is gaining a revelation of your own perception of reality, whether you feel connected to divination or not.